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[Weekender] Domestic bliss: Distancing brings happy hour home
Pandemic fuels enthusiasm for homemade cocktailsBy Im Eun-byel
Published : June 12, 2021 - 16:00
It is nearly impossible to grab a drink after work with friends in the Seoul city area, with drinking and dining establishments only allowed to operate until 10 p.m. and nonessential gatherings of five or more people banned.
Rather than just quenching the immediate thirst with beer from a supermarket or reaching for the same old green bottle of soju, more people -- not just alcohol aficionados -- are joining in on the at-home bar trend, imbibing delicious looking cocktails and whiskeys.
In a December survey of 2,000 respondents who have consumed alcohol in the past six months, 36.2 percent of those polled said there have been changes to where they drink after the pandemic, from restaurants, bars and pubs to their own homes of homes of their friends, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
“Though I am not really a heavy drinker, I liked to discover new bars and simply enjoy the experience of having a nice drink at a well-decorated bar before the pandemic. But after the virus crisis, that joy has been lost,” she said.
Kim has turned to mixing drinks at home, hopping on the “home-tending” trend, a portmanteau of home and bartending.
“I could say it is my new hobby to take photos of the drinks and upload them on my social media account. I just refer to YouTube to learn how to mix the drinks. I think I might as well try to earn a certificate for a Craftsman Bartender while I am at it,” she said.
“As at-home bar became a trend, the sales of cocktail liquors surpassed that of wine and whiskey,” said Lee No-ah, GS Retail merchandiser for alcoholic beverages. “We plan to present more diverse products, reflecting the home bar demand which has been growing more professional.”
Owing to the trend, Namdaemun Market’s liquor shopping mall is also enjoying a boom. Though there aren’t many liquor stores at the shopping complex, the narrow hallways are packed with young crowds on the weekends purchasing imported liquor.
“I could buy the liquor at convenience stores or department stores, or liquor shops in my neighborhood, but it is much cheaper here,” said an office worker in his early 30s who gave his surname as Park.
Like many virus-wary Seoulites, Park has opted to stay at home, instead of meeting up with friends outside to grab some drinks.
“Though there aren’t price tags like a supermarket or department stores here, there is an Excel file on the web about the liquor prices at Namdaemun Market that I can refer to,” he said.
“Whiskeys are easy to store, and there is much to learn. There are YouTube channels and books to refer to. It is more than just drinking alcohol. It is more like learning how to cook,” Park said.
By Im Eun-byel (email@example.com)
--Round ice cube mold
--Muddler (can be replaced with a teaspoon)
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